Inside AI - December 11th, 2019

Inside AI (Dec 11th, 2019)

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1. Delta Air Lines’ plans to roll out facial-recognition cameras at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport will be halted for now, after a commission agreed on a moratorium on some uses of the technology. During a Tuesday meeting that drew many privacy advocates, the Port of Seattle Commission - which oversees the airport - suspended the use of facial recognition and some other biometric technologies, until it can adopt policies governing how they're used. The decision effectively postpones Delta's plan to install the technology at Sea-Tac boarding gates by year-end, according to The Seattle Times. It will not, however, impact a Custom and Border Protection plan to install facial-recognition cameras at a facility next year, where it will process international travelers arriving into the country. - THE SEATTLE TIMES

2. In an interview with IEEE Spectrum, renowned deep learning architect Yoshua Bengio spoke about the future and limitations of AI, including what we should build next. Bengio, who won the Turing Award in 2018, answered questions in categories like "deep learning and its discontents" and "physics, language, and common sense." Today, he is scheduled to speak on similar future-oriented subjects at NeurIPS in a talk titled “From System 1 Deep Learning to System 2 Deep Learning.” - IEEE SPECTRUM

3. Researchers have been naming language models after muppets as an inside joke, The Verge's James Vincent reports. It all began with the Allen Institute's ELMo, which was published online in 2017. Engineer Joel Grus came up with the acronym “ELMo” - or “Embeddings from Language Models" - as a way to pay homage to the young son of lead author Matt Peters. “I liked it because it is somewhat whimsical but memorable,” said Peters. Later, Google's AI team unveiled the popular BERT, or Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers. In a blog post, the company says BERT "built upon recent work in pre-training contextual representations — including ... ELMo.” Others that followed include KERMIT (Kontextuell Encoder Representations Made by Insertion Transformations), ERNIE (Enhanced Representation through Knowledge Integration), and Big BIRD (Big Bidirectional Insertion Representations for Documents). - THE VERGE

4. Google is using Magenta, its open-source ML music tool, to create and choose personalized music for Lenovo’s Smart Clock. Google says its Assistant option - which rolled out globally today - can choose alarm ringtones based on things like weather and time of day. An example would be playing this song if the weather is below 50 degrees Fahrenheit and early morning, according to The Verge. - ENGADGET

5. During this week's NeurIPS 2019 conference, Nvidia unveiled a deep learning model that can choreograph dance moves based on music. The AI Choreographer, which it developed along with the University of California, Merced, is a GAN that was trained on 361,000 dance clips from Ballet, Zumba and Hip-Hop. Nvidia plans to publish the source code and research models after NeurIPS concludes on Saturday. - NEOWIN

6. The European Laboratory for Learning and Intelligent Systems, or ELLIS, has selected the sites of 17 European cities that will benefit from its AI funding. The nonprofit will fund a handful of AI researchers at each site - which are in places like Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Helsinki - of at least $1.66 million annually for the next five years. According to Venture Beat, the goal of the project is to help AI-focused research teams in Europe grow and compete internationally by paying researchers the same as tech giants. “A step toward realizing this vision of having these institutes is creating these units, which are a little bit like the seed. [I]f the units are successful, the plan is that it will grow and … eventually become an institute,” AI researcher and ELLIS board member Nuria Oliver said. - VENTURE BEAT

7. AI and machine learning expert Vishal Sikka has joined Oracle's board of directors. Sikka, who was a top executive at SAP and the CEO of Infosys before he founded his own AI startup Vianai Systems, will help the global technology firm adapt to change through a strategic vision, according to the company. Sikka said Oracle's integration of Enterprise Application Suites and Secure Infrastructure technologies in a single cloud "paves the way for enormous innovation and growth in the times ahead." - THE ECONOMIC TIMES

8. Walmart is partnering with Nuro for an autonomous grocery delivery test in Houston. Nuro will either use custom-built R2 vehicles or retrofitted Toyota Prius vehicles to deliver Walmart grocery orders directly to consumers who opt-in to the service in the Texas city. Nuro previously worked with Kroger on an autonomous grocery delivery test in both Scottsdale, Arizona, and Houston. Walmart has experimented with autonomous grocery delivery through tests with startups Udelv and Gatik AI as well as a pilot program with Waymo. - TECHCRUNCH

A version of this story first appeared in Inside Auto.

9. AirAsia has closed its voice call centers and will focus on its chatbot Ava, according to chief customer happiness officer Adam Geneave. Ava, which integrates into the airline's Salesforce platform, can answer "hundreds" of questions, help customers book flights, and change booking details, Geneave explained during Salesforce's recent Dreamforce conference. If the chatbot is unable to answer a question, it's turned over to Salesforce live chat. As a result, the company has shuttered its nine call centers and management systems. "Alexa and Siri, they've really brought out the voice AI," Geneave said. "And it's very clear that voice AI is the way of the future as well." - ZDNET

10. According to a new report from HealthLeaders Media, 22 percent of healthcare organizations currently use some type of AI-capable software platform, an increase from 14 percent two years ago. Based on the latest findings, 31 percent of the 128 organizations said they plan to employ AI within the next three years. Broken down, 81 percent said they currently or plan to apply AI tech to clinical data, 72 percent to financial data, and 59 percent to patient data. - HEALTH IT ANALYTICS

Written and curated by Beth Duckett, a former reporter for The Arizona Republic who wrote a book about the solar industry and frequently covers hobby and commercial drones. You can follow her tweets about artificial intelligence news here.

Edited by Sheena Vasani, Inside Dev editor.

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